Now out of beta, please see Spidertxt Instructions for details
We are excited to be releasing Spidertxt into our new website and are thrilled to have you on board as an official beta tester!
The duration of this beta phase is somewhat dependent on how the application performs, as well as your interaction and feed back on it. A three to four week timeline is expected before pushing live to the public.
This forum article presents the features and functionality of Spidertxt, as it stands in this initial beta release. It provides instructions on how to engage in two-way texting between a mobile device or tablet from the cockpit to a ground based user via either a mobile device, tablet, or the spidertracks web interface.
Spidertxt System Overview
The schematic diagram depicts the communication channels between a pilot and a ground-based user. Key points relating to this system are:
- A mobile device in the cockpit pairs with, and connects to the Spider via Bluetooth
- A Spidertxt message can be sent from the cockpit through the Spidertxt app to a mobile device
- The recipient of the Spidertxt message can reply as they would with any other text message
- The message conversation will also appear in the spidertracks website
- The conversation can be conducted either from the mobile device, or from the website
- When using the website, members who are connected to their Spider by Bluetooth are shown as online
- Messaging can be initiated from the website to the cockpit, whether the pilot is online or not (timeout periods are configurable)
- Note: The reply only link between the ground based mobile device and the spidertracks server. Messaging cannot be initiated from a ground based mobile, however, once a conversation is established communication can continue by replying to the inbound message which has been initiated from the cockpit.
Which mobile devices are supported?
Spidertxt is compatible with iOS (Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android devices. The handset or tablet must have Bluetooth.
Which Spiders are supported?
- Spider S5
- Spider S4*
- Spider S2**
* Early versions of Spider S4 are not compatible with iOS. If you have a Spider S4 and are unsure whether or not you are iOS compatible, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Spider S2 with Bluetooth are compatible with Android versions of Spidertxt only. If you have a Spider S2 and are unsure whether or not it has Bluetooth, please contact us at email@example.com.
Note: All Spiders must have the latest version of firmware to be compatible with iOS. All Spider S5 units will have the latest firmware. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unsure of your firmware version.
A) Spidertxt Identifier
Within the go.spidertracks.com website:
- Go to Settings, under Personal, click on Personal Information
- Down the bottom of your Profile, enter a Spidertxt Identifier. This should be your mobile number, but does not have to be. Be sure to enter this in international format, for example in the US, a mobile 555 (111)-2222 would become +15551112222. In Australia, 0425 111 2222 would become +614251112222.
- Ensure all your members follow steps 1 and 2.
B) Message time-out
As an Organisation Admin, you need to configure the message time out. This refers to how long a message will sit on the spidertracks server before being timed-out and therefore not sent, in the event the recipient does not connect to their Spider within the time selected. You are able to select either one hour, one day, one week, or one month.
- Go to settings and click on Manage for your Organisation
- Click on the Spidertxt link from the left hand column, and select the appropriate period. Click Save.
C) Download and install Spidertxt on your mobile or tablet
- Download and install the application onto your mobile from the appropriate link above, or by searching spidertxt.
- Open the Spidertxt application. it will ask you to enter your phone number. This must be the same number you entered as your texting identifier in the website, including the + for international format.
- Click on Settings and configure Notifications, Canned Messages, and a Signature if required.
D) Pairing and connecting
- Pair with your Spider. To do this search for Bluetooth devices within your mobiles settings. The Spider will appear as spidertracksXXXXXXXXX, where your Spider's 10 character serial number are XXXXXXXXX. You should only have to pair with your Spider once. Note: If you re pairing with an Android you will be asked for a passcode to pair with Spider, use 5203.
- Click Connect in the Bluetooth settings (this will happen automatically when you first pair with the Spider). Note: If you have an iOS device, you will have go to the phone Bluetooth settings and connect to the Spider every time you need to connect to the Spider. Android devices can connect via the Spidertxt app.
- Open the Spidertxt app and click Manage Connection. This will display the number which you configured previously. Click Connect. The app will show that it is connecting, then waiting for validation. Validation can take a couple of minutes depending on the quality of the connection between the Spider and the satellites - the Spider will need a good view of the sky at this time. Once you have been validated you are able to send text messages.
E) Sending a message from the Spidertxt application
- Click on the pencil icon in the top right. You are able to pull contacts from your address book as with any other text, however, all numbers must be in full international format or the Spidertxt app will not accept them, e.g., +155555555555 Please do not attempt to us any punctuation when entering the number for example (555)55555555 or 1-555-555-55555 Your message will likely fail to be delivered if the number is punctuated in any way.
- Write your message with up to 120 characters.
- Click send. If you are sending to a mobile on the ground we do recommend that you clearly identify who you are, by way of a signature or otherwise, as your cellular number will not be displayed to the recipient as the sender (the message comes from any of the spidertracks short codes instead).
Note: If you are sending a message to a mobile number which is also the Spidertxt Identifier for an associated member, then the message will be displayed in the message window which corresponds with that member's name. If you send to any other mobile number you will also have a record of the conversation in the website, however it will be listed by mobile number and not the recipient's name.
F) Sending a message from the website
- Click on Spidertxt (if you do not see this menu, please complete section A) Spidertxt Identifier)
- Under the Members tab on the left hand side, you will see a list of all members which you can send messages to. This will include all members of Organisations which you belong to that have Spidertxt enabled, and who have completed step A) Spidertxt Identifier. If a member is online and validated they will be illuminated with a green icon as shown below. To send a message, simply select the member, type in the message box and send.
Note: The Aircraft option is not functional as part of this beta release.
G) Messaging from a ground-based phone to the cockpit
- If you receive a text message on your mobile device through Spidertxt, then you are able to reply to that message as you normally would with any other text. Once communication has been initiated you are able to continue a conversation by replying to the last message which you have received. In the case where the device in the cockpit may have disconnected from the Spider temporarily, this arrangement continues to function and your reply message will be queued on the spidertracks system according to your Organisation's time-out parameters.
Some limitations of this beta release are:
- Texting cannot be initiated from a ground based mobile phone; reply only.
- You are not able to text cockpit to cockpit (no Spider to Spider communication).
- Text to email recipients is not supported; SMS only.
- Messages coming from the Spider in the aircraft to a user on the ground may not come from the same short code, meaning conversations for the person on the ground will not populate under one phone number.
- The names of some contacts are not shown in the To: field in the Spidertxt application for specific number formats.
- If iOS Bluetooth connection is lost, the user must go back to Bluetooth settings and reconnect before connecting in the Spidertxt application.
- Characters must be ASCII only, accents are not supported.